In my book, Simplicity: Finding Freedom From the Inside Out, I give readers four steps to finding their purpose.
How many of you know that lock-step formulas are often a far reach from reality?
“Three steps to financial freedom!”
“Five steps to a non-existent butt!”
“Seven keys to convince God to give you everything you want!”
Life is much more complicated than that. And I knew that when I wrote that section about finding your purpose in that book. I wanted to give directionless people a small way to start. They are the basic steps I’ve followed to move into my purpose, however long and winding the path following those steps have ended up being.
My problem is that I ignored the latter part of the book, the part where I tell people how to declutter their minds.
I’m not being charitable to myself. I didn’t purposely ignore anything. The fact is, I was under more than a bit of self-deception. After all, I am the author of this self-help book, so none of those categories can pertain to me, right?
I heard it said that the worst deception is self-deception.
I’ve mentioned a couple of times recently (and will probably revisit from time to time) how I’ve struggled with perfectionism and the ensuing depression most of my adult life. And when you’ve got those kinds of chains hanging off you, it’s gonna be hard to figure out what you’re really supposed to be when you grow up.
Those chains are annoying, man! They consume most of your thoughts and make you feel like you’ve eaten one bratwurst too many (one is one too many for some of us. My stomach hurts just thinking about it).
But recently, I finally shook those chains loose. Father led me down a path where I was able to see how they were weighing down my life, keeping me from being the vibrant, wonderful Emily the world needs.
I was able to see how they had skewed my perspective. And a skewed perspective leads to a skewed life.
348 words and I still haven’t told you my purpose for this season of my life! Let’s go…
How it began
Over fifteen years ago, an acquaintance at the church fellowship I attended while single called me one night to tell me that the Lord had spoken to him that I was going to one day be writing books and songs for children.
This was after I had received rejection letter after rejection letter from numerous magazines who wouldn’t even accept my short stories for children. I had given up ever publishing a children’s book. So I politely told him thank you, and went on my merry way.
Then, six or seven years ago, a lady who was a virtual stranger (although our pastor at the time was acquainted with her) came up to me, grabbed my hands, and said, among other things, “I see you writing curriculum!”
At the time, I was into unschooling. I was, at least, unschooling myself (trying to get school out of my system) and never wanted to touch any curriculum for any subject ever again! My homeschooling plan with B was to wing it. There are tons of resources online, after all, and I am a licensed, experienced teacher.
A few years ago I realized that my kid was not going to get the academics he needed by some magical osmosis just by living a kid’s life. So I decided to write my own curriculum for everything except math.
Long story short (I will blog about it pretty soon), this wonderful math program that so many homeschoolers adore fell way, way short in my eyes. And B came to despise it.
What happened recently
I purchased a few homeschooling workbooks from a lady named Sarah Brown a couple of months ago. Something stirred in me as I flipped through them. Couple that with a recent sudden and seemingly inexplicable desire to start teaching in the classroom again, and I knew that Father was trying to tell me something.
Then, it came to me.
Well, let me copy an excerpt from my personal journal…
I’ve got my marching orders! I now know what the lady meant when she said, “I see you writing curriculum.” I browsed a bunch of Sarah’s products (and will buy two or three!), and while doing so one reviewer comment hit me upside the head: “We’re using this to supplement our math curriculum….” I thought, yeah, and I’ll bet that curriculum isn’t nearly as fun as Sarah’s workbooks and journals.
Then I got to thinking, why? Why are regular homeschool curriculums as tedious as those in schools, when homeschooling parents have so much more freedom with their educational choices, and homeschooled children despise workbooks as much as schooled kids?
Then excitement exploded inside me. Could I write a curriculum that is fun and engaging the whole way, for both math and language arts, with activities and worksheets that are actually fun to do? YES, YES, A THOUSAND TIMES YES! I would have to find a graphic artist, or convince Jerry to learn the craft (not holding my breath there), but I think I could. And write it as I teach Benjamin, so by the time he’s thirteen I’ve got most, if not all, of it done!
I’m calling the curriculum Story Math, and it will consist of a set of books containing adventures and mysteries that the main characters experience as they learn math along the way. Good news: I will not need a graphic artist, and for what few graphics I will need, Jerry can create them (he’s already started). You heard about Story Math here first. I hope to have it available on Amazon some time in 2018, well before B turns thirteen. I will, of course, keep all of my blog readers and YouTube viewers posted.
In the meantime, what chains have you got hanging from you that are keeping you from living up to your potential?